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A Reading from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales


Professor Jess B. Bessinger, Jr. reads the general prologue and the concluding retraction of Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales.” One of the foremost experts on early English poetry, Bessinger offers a masterful recitation of this seminal work of literature, all in the original Middle English. The lyrical quality of Chaucer’s masterpiece is best appreciated when read aloud by someone fluent in the archaic form of English in which it was written. While most students have read at least one of these tales in a High School English class, those often belabored readings, replete with many mispronunciations and frequent interruptions, as various footnotes are investigated, often remove much of the beauty, and mask the humor, that is the hallmark of the original poem. It is therefore a marvelous opportunity to have all the various characters of the book so vividly brought to life by this recording.

Run time 50 min


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Reviewer: ℊ℮øღεтεя - - August 14, 2015
Subject: A bit fast, but good
The pronunciation and stress is impeccable, better than an recording I've heard. But, I feel he rushes and rolls sentences off his tongue too quickly. Otherwise, I'm enjoying listening to it.
Reviewer: Shinashi - - September 4, 2014
Subject: Excellent
I did not have intentions on learning how to pronounce anything. I just needed help with reading the general prologue because I just couldn't on my own. I made a profile just to say what a tremendous help this audio was in my understanding and, as an addition, my pronunciation. I saw 49 minutes and groaned, but they went quickly. Thanks for it being free in the first place!
Reviewer: ApolloReed - - June 4, 2011
Subject: Great Recording!
This recording captures the Host's voice in a way that satisfies many of the scholarly questions surrounding the existence of sarcasm, satire, and ignorance in the role of the Host.

The pronunciation of Middle English in this recording is also very well done. I highly recommend this recording for anyone desiring to improve their Middle English skills.
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on 4/1/2010